|Publication number||US7281334 B2|
|Application number||US 11/077,139|
|Publication date||Oct 16, 2007|
|Filing date||Mar 7, 2005|
|Priority date||Sep 26, 2002|
|Also published as||EP1544172A1, EP1544172A4, EP1544172B1, US20050223570, WO2004028988A1|
|Publication number||077139, 11077139, US 7281334 B2, US 7281334B2, US-B2-7281334, US7281334 B2, US7281334B2|
|Inventors||Satoshi Yonezawa, Hirashi Ueda|
|Original Assignee||Satoshi Yonezawa, Hirashi Ueda|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (17), Referenced by (2), Classifications (35), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of a scribing cutter for scribing a surface of a work with a scribing tool and, more specifically, to a mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of a scribing cutter most suited for scribing thin films of number of cells arranged on a substrate for electrically separating unit cells from each other in the process of fabricating a thin-film solar cell.
2. Description of the Related Art
Recently, there has been developed a thin-film solar cell having a light absorbing layer made of chalcopyrite compound (CIGS (Cu(InGn)Se2) type compound), which possesses an excellent power conversion efficiency and high stability of output characteristic.
In mass production of the thin-film compound semiconductor solar cells, there is used such a modular structure in which a plurality of the above-described unit cell structures are monolithically formed on a single substrate. The unit cells monolithically formed on the substrate therefore must be electrically separated from each others.
In the conventional process, the electrical separation of unit cells can be easily carried out by partially removing thin films between respective cells by laser scribing method (JP H11-312815). However, the laser scribing method may concurrently heat boundaries of respective cells at a very high temperature, resulting in deterioration of characteristics of cells by the effect of heat.
Thus, the separation of thin film solar cells on a single substrate by laser scribing involves a problem of deterioration of performance characteristic of respective cells by the effect of the high heat energy of a laser beam.
A primary object of the present invention is to provide a mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of a scribing cutter best suited to separate respective solar cells formed on a single substrate by vertically pressing at a specified force a flat tip face of a scribing cutter having a specifically tapered cylindrical body to the surface of a work and moving the cutter on the surface of the work to form a scribing line with no effect of heat that may cause the deterioration of the characteristic of respective solar cells.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of a scribing cutter for mechanically scribing respective solar cells monolithically formed on a single substrate, which is provided with means for preventing respective solar cells from insufficiently being scribed by using a scribing cutter having wear tip face, which may cause short circuiting among the cells, and means for preventing the solar cells from being excessively cut by applying an excessive force to the scribing cutter having a wear tip face, which may form deep damage to the under layers and the substrate.
Practically, the mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of a scribing cutter according to the present invention is provided with a means for measuring a flat tip face of the scribing cutter and a means for controlling a force pressing the cutter in accordance with the measured size of the tip face of the cutter, thereby achieving minute scribing of respective solar cells according to a predetermined cutting pattern in accordance with a wear loss state of the tip face of the scribing cutter.
As shown in
The light absorbing layer 3 is a CIGS film which is fabricated as a stacked metal precursor formed by sputtering, e.g., an indium (In) layer and a copper gallium (Cu—Ga) alloy layer and heat-treated in the atmosphere of selenium (Se).
Finally, the third process is conducted, as shown in
The grooves M1 and M2 must not be made by the laser scribing method which, if applied, may cause deterioration of the photoelectric conversion characteristic of the light-absorbing layer 3 of the solar cell product.
If the cutter 9 has a wear loss (δ) of the flat-tip face as shown in
Accordingly, the present invention provides the mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of the scribing cutter which is capable of detecting a wear loss of the tip face of the tapered body of the scribing cutter 9 by measuring a change in the size of the flat tip face portion 91 thereof and correspondingly increasing the pressure force applied to the cutter in such a way so as to always scribe the specified size of the grooves.
In practice, the mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of a scribing cutter according to the present invention is provided with a means for measuring the flat tip face size of the cutter 9, which, as shown in
The mechanical scribing apparatus 12 has a standard type main body with a head with a cutter 9 movably attached thereto, which works by vertically pressing the cutter 9 with a specified force to a specified position of a work by using an actuator composed of a cylinder-piston mechanism and moving the cutter 9 along a specified cutting line on the surface of the work.
A wear loss of the cutter 9 may be also determined from the size of the flat tip portion 91 on the basis of the width of a scribe made and measured in the previous scribing step.
When conducting the mechanical scribing of a work, the speed of moving the cutter 9 is variably controlled under the control of the operation processing unit in such a way so as to increase the cutter moving speed in an intermediate scribing area between a starting area (about 10% of a whole area) and an ending area (about 10% of a whole area). Both the scribe starting and ending areas requires a high accuracy of positioning of the cutter 9 on the surface of the work.
Such increasing in speed of moving the cutter in the intermediate area of the work is useful for increasing throughput of the process of separating individual thin-film solar cells formed on a single substrate.
According to the present invention, the mechanical scribing is conducted on the surface of the work held in a state inclined at an angle of not less than 60° and less than 90° to a horizontal plane so that chips may be removed without falling on and adhering to the surface of the work. The inclination of the surface of the work 13 is limited not to exceed 90° from the horizontal so as not to fall out by itself.
The mechanical scribing apparatus 12 comprises a back face float type loading portion L/L 121 for loading a work 13 held in a state inclined at an angle of not less than 60° and less than 90° to the horizontal, a scribing portion 122 for performing a predetermined scribing of the inclined surface of the work and a back face float type unloading portion UL/UL 123 for unloading the work 13 processed by the mechanical scribing.
In the loading portion L/L 121, a plurality of works 13 arranged with their surfaces held in vertical state by a back face airflow line 14 are transported subsequently by a conveyor 15 to the scribing portion 122.
In the scribing portion 122, each of works 13 as in the vertical state is vacuum sucked to a moving table 16 and transported along a slide rail 17 to an actuator 18 for scribing. In this position, the upper and lower ends of a scribed line (groove L) formed in the work by laser scribing in the preceding process is first recognized by a pair of cameras 191 and 192. In this case, if the work 13 sucked to the moving table 16 is inclined as shown in
In the unloading portion UL/UL 123, the works received from the scribing portion 122 are held by a back face airflow line 26 and subsequently unloaded by a conveyor 27.
As is apparent from the foregoing, the mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of scribing cutter according to the present invention measures the flat tip face size of a scribing cutter and controls the force pressing the cutter to the surface of a work, thereby it can always make minute predetermined scribing at a high accuracy on the surface of the work in accord with a wear loss of the cutter. In particular, the separation of each of solar cells formed on a single substrate is adaptively performed by the mechanical scribing apparatus without insufficient scribing and/or damaging the surfaces of the lower layers and the substrate.
Furthermore, the mechanical scribing apparatus with controlling force of scribing cutter according to the present invention can variably control the moving speed of the cutter in such as a way to increase the cutter moving speed in an intermediate scribing area between a starting area and an ending area so as to effectively increase the throughput of the scribing process.
The scribing can be performed on a work held as inclined at an angle of no less than 60° and less than 90°, thereby preventing adhesion of chips to the surface of the substrate during the scribing process.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|U.S. Classification||33/18.1, 83/74, 257/E21.599, 33/20.1|
|International Classification||H01L31/04, B28D1/22, C03C17/36, C03B33/10, C03B33/07, B28D5/00, H01L21/78, B26D3/06, B43L13/00, C03B33/027, C03C17/00, B26D5/02|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T83/148, H01L31/0463, B28D5/0064, Y02E10/541, C03C2218/328, B28D1/225, H01L21/78, C03C17/36, B26D3/065, C03C2218/32, B26D5/02, C03C17/002, C03C17/3678|
|European Classification||B28D5/00H2, C03C17/00B2, C03C17/36, B26D5/02, B28D1/22D, C03C17/36B354S|
|Jun 22, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HONDA GIKEN KOGYO KABUSHIKI KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:YONEZAWA, SATOSHI;UEDA, HIRASHI;REEL/FRAME:016710/0506
Effective date: 20050506
|Mar 17, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|May 29, 2015||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Oct 16, 2015||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Dec 8, 2015||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20151016